Career | Columns | Journalism

Wake Up And Enjoy Your Breakfast of Failures

“If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.” –Thomas Watson, Sr. Founder of IBM


Before the Breakfast of Champions – there was the Breakfast of Failures:

• C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia) had over 800 rejections before he sold even one piece of writing.

• Oprah Winfrey was not deterred when she got fired from her television reporter’s job being told, “You’re not fit for TV.”

• Og Mandino (The Greatest Salesman in the World) had lost his family to drink and became a homeless person before becoming an inspirational bestselling author selling over 30 million books.

• Marie Curie, recipient of two Nobel Prizes once said, “I tried out various experiments…and the results were sometimes unexpected. At times I would be encouraged by a little unhoped-for success, at others I would be in the deepest despair because of accidents and failures resulting from my inexperience…I was taught that the way of progress is neither swift nor easy.”

• Bill Gates and Michael Dell were college drop-outs.

• Babe Ruth had more strike-outs then any other baseball player of his time. He also had the most home runs.

• Ann Bancroft, the first woman to travel across the ice to the North Pole, reminisced later about not reaching a goal to cover 2,300 miles across Antarctica (bad weather forced them to be airlifted off) on an expedition with her sister: “Once again this [expedition] is another successful failure.”

• After auditioning for his band, musician Eddie Bond told a young Elvis Presley to “Stick to driving a truck, because you’ll never make it as a singer.”

• Abe Lincoln lost his job and his sweetheart, failed miserably in business, was defeated for state legislature, had a nervous breakdown, was defeated for nomination for congress, lost the renomination, was defeated for US Senate, defeated for nomination of Vice President, and again defeated for US Senate, before being elected as the sixteenth President of the United States.

Forget about living a ‘comfortable’ life. I’m not interested in the items you’ve crossed off your to-do list today. I want to know: have you failed – I mean really FAILED lately?



Faze Contributor Sharif Khan is the author of “Psychology of the Hero Soul


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